Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Yes, Virginia, there is a mustache

It was August 2002, the hot ass-end of summer, and I had just moved from the East Village to Williamsburg. I had barely moved into the place when I took off on a cross-country bus trip on the Green Tortoise.

I had a goatee at the time. The trip was two weeks—down the Eastern Seaboard, through the South and Texas, and into the Southwest, where we hiked the Valley of the Gods, Zion National Park, and more. I smoked up in the desert among the prickly pears with one of the bus’s drivers (named "Razz") and wandered real high through Carlsbad Caverns.

The last stop on the trip before dropping folks off in Bakersfield and continuing on up to San Francisco, where Green Tortoise is based, was Vegas. I had never been to Vegas before. Like I said, I had a goatee at the time, and had not shaved for the whole two weeks—so I was looking pretty scruffy. I thought it’d be good for a joke to shave my shit off and have only a mustache in Vegas, so at a gas station outside of town I bought some Bic razors and shaving cream. Put it in a brown paper bag and, when we got to the Strip, went with my brown paper bag into a very nice, plush bathroom in the Bellagio, right off the casino floor.

Now, I’d been on a bus for two weeks, so I was pretty rough-looking. So I’m in the bathroom of the Bellagio, people coming in and out, and I lather up my face and get to cuttin’. And cutting, my friends, it was. I dunno if you’ve ever tried to shave off a full beard with a Bic razor, but it don’t work so good. But anyway, I get about halfway done—I’m bleeding all over the place—and suddenly I realize how sketchy this looks: like I’d just fucked over some people at the poker table and was now trying to change my appearance.

They didn’t call security on me, though, so I finished “shaving”—more like hacking through jungle underbrush with a dull No. 2 pencil—and emerged, fully mustachioed, into the cool Bellagio. I took up with the curly-headed girl in black that I was hollerin’ at and we went to play blackjack. The mustache stayed for the rest of the trip and has stayed since (save for one drunk night on a dare).

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